India long way from churning out world-class product cos: Intel Capital's Sudheer Kuppam

3 Dec, 2012

Intel Capital, the corporate venture capital arm of Intel, the world's largest semi conductor chip maker, is trying to establish a position sandwiched between both extremes — a strategic investor and that of a venture capitalist. The corporate investor, which began by making small investments in companies that would help foster a better macro-ecosystem for Intel products, has come a long way. It now leads investment rounds and makes follow-on investments. Intel Capital recently led an investment round in Mumbai-based digital entertainment company Hungama, to boost the expansion plans of Hungama.com, which owns the music tracks, movies, music videos and mobile content. As a strategic investor, it seeks to play an influential role in introducing portfolio companies to eventual customers. An example is its Intel Technology Days — an initiative where Intel Capital pros spend an entire day at a portfolio company's headquarters, introducing it to various outside executives.

At the Intel Capital CEO summit, an annual technology networking event, which draws decision makers from Fortune 500 companies, its portfolio company Aternity, an enterprise software firm, secured a big contract from one such company. Third, Intel Capital is charting a global investing strategy — $250 million dedicated to India, $200 million to China, $50 million to the Middle East and $50 million to Brazil. It is now going behind not-so-popular markets like Turkey. It has now invested about 80 per cent of its India – dedicated fund across more than 30 companies. While it has been active in putting capital to work, the firm was mostly on sidelines this year having made only one fresh investment (Hungama.com). India has typically been a market where investors have been in a rush to deploy capital, but their returns have not necessarily been in line with their expectation. While the jury is out on how Intel capital India portfolio has performed, Sudhheer Kuppam, MD, Asia Pacific says that they are a top-quartile investor in India by any metric. This is certainly a huge transition for Intel capital, whose ROI was judged less in IRR and more in Intel Corp.'s quarterly numbers. In an exclusive video interview with VCCircle, Kuppam points out that Indian entrepreneurs still need to do a lot more, when it comes to building world-class product companies. Watch the video for more.